Héritier du Développement au Congo (HDC) focus on the environment, climate change and biodiversity, and the ways in which they are often connected to conflicts following the exploitation of natural resources. HDC’s primary focus is on the tensions which occur between local authorities, indigenous people, grassroots individuals or organisations, and state officials that are delegated to ensure and manage protected areas.
HDC aim at promoting an approach that engenders participatory social dynamics inclusive of both indigenous people and those working at the grassroots level. They work to ensure that respect is shown for ethnic diversity and so bring about a positive community spirit.
HDC’s role of supporting the community is crucial in helping them to bring about a process which promotes a culture of dialogue. They believe that this is the foundation for different actors at the grassroots level to engage with both policy and decision makers, and women and youth groups, in order to de-escalate conflicts connected with the unsustainable management of natural resources. Altogether, they work to improve environmental governance and so alleviate poverty in the area.
Five different ways of working
- Peaceful resolution of conflicts regarding the limits of protected conservation areas, between local authorities, local communities and the Congolese Institute of the Conservation of Nature officials
- Supporting local communities in the protection of contested areas and sustainable management of forests, which contributes to sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation. This includes trying to help set up sustainable ecosystem services for the local communities
- Promotion of ecosystem resilience and climate change in and around the protected areas
- Action oriented research to sustainable development and the protection of biodiversity
- Community-led exchanging of experience and information between different peacebuilding and development actors, stakeholders, local organisations and local authorities.
In 2011 HDC called for two round tables that included actors in conflict connected with natural resource management. This was because the forest area of Ituri District and the boundaries of the Mont Hoyo Reserve were one of the biggest drivers of recurrent conflicts between the local authorities, the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature authorities, and local communities.
HDC then established local committees in charge of monitoring and participating in the sustainable management of natural resources. These continue to ensure that guidelines are met and that dialogue between the different actors continues.